A second contractor has settled with the city in a lawsuit over the bungled Port of Anchorage expansion, with general contractor Quality Asphalt Paving agreeing to pay just over $5.1 million to end its financial liability in the case.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason ordered the company released from liability in the city's sprawling lawsuit against multiple contractors involved in a failed project that ultimately cost more than $300 million.
Jon Fuglestad, president of QAP parent Colaska, said in a written statement that "the Port of Anchorage never asserted claims against QAP for deficient performance in this case."
The settlement with QAP was signed in late August. The company did not admit liability or fault.
QAP was hired by Integrated Concepts and Research Corp., the project construction manager and a defendant in the city's lawsuit.
The case is set to go to trial in April. A jury could still decide to apportion some of the blame for the failed project to QAP, which helped transport fill materials and did other work, said Robert Owens, assistant municipal attorney.
But no matter the level of fault the jury might assign to QAP — including possibly no fault — its financial liability is limited to the terms of the settlement at $5.15 million, Owens said. The money is subject to appropriation by the Anchorage Assembly.
The municipality's claims in the lawsuit will reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars, though a final total has not yet been set, he said.
Construction on the project ended in 2010, leaving an incomplete and unusable new dock.
The city earlier this year settled for $5.5 million with MKB Constructors, a subcontractor to Quality Asphalt. MKB, based in Kirkland, Washington, was primarily responsible for driving steel sheet piles into the floor of Cook Inlet.
Fuglestad, in his statement, said QAP had been looking forward to defending its work on the project.
"However, given the procedural posture of the case, and the number of parties asserting claims back and forth, the insurers for QAP and our subcontractor, MKB, decided that a settlement was in our best interests and so we are moving on," Fuglestad said.
Owens, the assistant municipal attorney, called the QAP settlement a "calculated risk" by both sides.
"There's a chance we may have left money on the table or that we came out ahead," Owens said.
"I wouldn't declare victory," he said.